THIS YEAR'S NHS Sustainability Award for Food went to North Bristol NHS Trust for the commitment they showed to providing local, sustainable food to their patients.
The trust worked with their wholesalers and the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark team to ensure that their food was sourced from within a 50 mile radius, focused on a local and seasonal menu, and was organic where possible.
The trust has an Environmental Policy which commits them to monitoring and sourcing local, organic, seasonal and fairly traded food. The Soil Association’s Catering Mark Supplier Scheme, a sister scheme that has developed to support Catering Mark holders’ needs, helped the catering team at North Bristol NHS Trust to find local suppliers who could fulfil their environmental aims. As a result of the changes to the menu and supply at North Bristol NHS the hospital has achieved a Silver Catering Mark, which is a nationally recognised accreditation with an annual inspection so you can be assured that the food served meets sector standards on nutrition, freshness and sustainability.
Gary Wilkins, Head of Catering at North Bristol NHS Trust said: “The Catering Mark is something tangible to show patients, visitors and other interested parties just how important providing improved patient meals is for us here at North Bristol NHS Trust. But it’s not just the patients that benefit, we feel we are really contributing to the local economy and feeding back into our community. Winning the Sustainability Award is the icing on the cake and we will continue to build on the quality of our food in the future. We are currently applying for a Catering Mark for our staff and visitor restaurant too.”
The quality of food at Southmead hospital is often reported by patients; a recent patient satisfaction survey scored 95.1% for food. Over 93% of dishes are prepared from local ingredients, freshly on site and the Catering Mark standard means that they are free from controversial or undesirable additives, GM and artificial trans fats, and are better for animal welfare.
John Cottrell from Gundenham Dairy supplies North Bristol NHS Trust with all 412,800 pints of milk a year. John said: “It is fantastic that North Bristol NHS have won the NHS Sustainability Food Award and we are proud to be involved with the growth of the Food for Life Catering Mark through our supply to the hospital. It has helped connect us with local caterers so that together we can improve the quality of the food served and really make a difference in our area. We are looking to work with more Catering Mark holders in future.”
As well as local milk, the trust also purchases ice-cream from Marshfield Farm near Bath, who have an organic dairy herd. The Trust’s meat comes from the Bristol based John Sheppard Butchers, including all organic minced beef.